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  • Category: Language & Words

    This category features customers whose mishandling of vocabulary and grammar are so bad that we literally have no words to describe them!

    Bursting The American Bubble

    | Knoxville, TN, USA | Bigotry, Geography, Language & Words

    (There are two customers in line: the first customer is in her 20s, and the second customer is a middle-aged man. The first customer hands me her credit card.)

    Me: “Ma’am, I need to see your ID.”

    Customer #1: “Oh? Is that something new?”

    Me: “Yeah, sorry for the inconvenience!”

    Customer #1: “Oh, no! It’s totally fine. My driver’s license expired while I was in Reykjavik, though. I just got back; see. Will you take my passport?”

    Me: “Oh, of course!”

    (Customer #2 stomps up to us as Customer #1 is looking for it.)

    Customer #2: “You mean to tell me that I’m having to stand in line and wait behind a foreigner? I’m an American! I demand you help me before helping her!”

    (Customer #1 rolls her eyes and shows me her passport.)

    Customer #1: “Will this work?”

    Me: “Yeah, that’s fine.”

    Customer #2: “No! Don’t help her! What country are you from, b****? Russia? Don’t help her! It’s people like her that are ruining this country!”

    Customer #1: “Sir, I am an American. And even if I wasn’t, how dare you speak to me and this cashier in such a manner?”

    Customer #2: “Liar! An American wouldn’t have a passport!”

    Me: “Sir, if you’d looked at her passport, you’d see that it says USA all over it.”

    Customer #2: *looks at Customer #1′s passport* “But… but that can’t be! She wouldn’t use a passport if she’s a native American!”

    Me: “Right. She’s really from Italy; she just likes to draw random eagles all over her passport. Now where are you from, sir? I’m sure this lady would like to know, so she can be sure never to visit.”

    (Customer #2 leaves in a huff, threatening to call the manager and corporate.)

    Customer #1: *sighs* “Is your manager here?”

    Me: “Oh, yeah. Do you need to talk to him?”

    Customer #1: “Please.”

    (I get the manager, and he and Customer #1 have a conversation. I go back to work. The manager comes back a few minutes later and drops a $20 in the tip jar.)

    Me: “What is that?”

    Manager: “From the customer I was talking to. She said she wanted to be sure you didn’t get in trouble for standing up for her and thought you deserved a tip.”

    Can’t Get A Handle On The Situation

    | NB, Canada | At The Checkout, Language & Words

    (We sell brooms and mops, but we also sell a variety of replacement broom handles and broom and mop heads, all of which fit with each other. I get called to the cash for customer service.)

    Customer: *in French* “Yes, my father was in here yesterday and bought me five mop handles, but he never brought the mop heads.”

    (I figure he left them behind at the cash, and the customer has come to retrieve them. She hands me her receipt, and I see he only paid for the mop handles, not the heads. She cuts me off before I can speak.)

    Customer: “Yes, so I can’t really do much without the mop heads you know. Somebody should have told him. I’m going to need the mop heads.”

    (I realize that the customer thinks they come together, and wants me to correct ‘our mistake.’ She cuts me off again, speaking to her friend in French.)

    Customer: *in French* “I don’t think this girl understands a word I’m saying. This store is unbelievable. Their manager doesn’t even know what I’m talking about. I should—”

    Me: *in perfect French* “Yes, ma’am, I understand perfectly. Your father came in yesterday and bought you five mop handles, but forgot to buy mop heads to go with them. That is unfortunate, given that you had to come back today to buy them. However, as they are sold separately and do not come together, and customers often buy one or the other as replacements, my cashiers would have had no reason to believe that he had forgotten to pick them up or remind him. If you would like to buy some mop heads, I can show you exactly where they are; just follow me.”

    (The customer turns bright red, and her friend turns away trying to hide her laughter.)

    Customer: “Oh, uh… no it’s okay, thank you. I’ll find them myself. Thank you.”

    (The customer practically ran away to the cleaning department, paid for her mop heads without ever making eye contact with anybody, and left quickly. I’ve never seen her since.)

    Out Of The Dirty Mouth Of Babes

    | Melbourne, VIC, Australia | Family & Kids, Language & Words, Theme Of The Month

    (A three-year-old girl is waiting with her family for her turn to see the doctor. She is entertaining herself by singing.)

    Girl: “I wonder what your name is; I wonder what’s your name? My name’s [name]! Hello, hello, hello. I wonder what your name is; I wonder what’s your name?” *approaches my desk* “What’s YOUR name, b****?”

    Me: *speechless*

    Their Brain Is French-Fried

    | BC, Canada | Extra Stupid, Language & Words

    Customer: “Where are you from?”

    Me: “From Quebec.”

    Customer: “Quebec? Is that the province that speaks French?”

    Me: “Yes.”

    Customer: “But how come you can speak in English?”

    Me: *looking at him in disbelief*

    Customer: “And when you started to speak in English, did you choose to have a French accent?”

    The Maine Difference Between The Accents

    | West Gardiner, ME, USA | Geography, Language & Words, Tourists/Travel

    (I work in a travel plaza in a town in central Maine, fairly close to the Canada/USA border. The plaza is the only sort of gas station, restaurant, and other amenity on the highway for miles, so we get the gamut of travelers, most of whom are weary from long hours of driving. We are encouraged to be as helpful as possible, and to make conversation while ringing up customers.)

    Me: “Did you find everything alright?”

    Customer: “Well, I did in here, but…”

    Me: “But?”

    Customer: “You from around here?”

    Me: “Actually, I grew up in the next town over.”

    Customer: “Excellent. What is there to do in this area?”

    (I offer a few suggestions of popular tourist attractions, and unique local restaurants. The customer gives me an odd look and is silent while I tell him his total. While I’m counting his change, he suddenly explodes. He knocks half his purchases off the counter to get in my face and starts shouting.)

    Customer: “DON’T YOU LIE TO ME!”

    Me: “I’m sorry; excuse me?!”

    Customer: “You stupid b****! There’s no WAY you’re from here! How do I know everything you just told me isn’t all fake? I want to talk to someone who is actually from this area!”

    Me: “With all due respect, sir, what makes you say that?”

    Customer: “You don’t have the accent!”

    Me: “What?”

    Customer: “See! I told you you were lying! If you really grew up here, you’d have that authentic Maine accent! ‘Pahk the arnge cah in the yahd’.”

    Me: *drawling into a thick ‘Maine’ accent* “Ayuh well there sir what you got yourself there is a Boston accent; you ain’t soundin’ like no Mainer, deyah.”

    Customer: “What the f*** did you just say?!”

    Me: *in normal voice* “I said, I worked very hard growing up to learn to enunciate properly, but I can assure you I’m far more authentically Maine than these lobster souvenirs you just spent $10 on and then broke. I’m glad to know my hard work paid off. Have a safe trip now, ‘deyah.’”

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